The 36-year-old Utley has a slash line this season of just .196/.266/.298 to go with four home runs and 28 RBIs. Utley has battled through an ankle injury since June 22, and was recently reactivated on August 6. Clearly, Utley’s best days are behind him, but he can still provide some pop and veteran experience as he was a leader on the 2008 World Series champion Phillies team.
That Balls Outta Here
By the end of the day, the six-time All Star second baseman may have a one-way ticket to the City by the Bay. Utley is in the last year of his two-year, $30-million contract, but has a $15 million per year vesting option guaranteed with a minimum 500 at-bats in the previous season through 2018. With that being said, Phillies GM Rubén Amaro, Jr. will need to eat a lot of the contract in order to trade Utley to San Francisco (the Giants already have a cap total of $178 million).
According to Craig Calcaterra of NBC Sports, San Francisco would not have to unload too many of their prospects, but Utley has increased his value with a good string of games since his return from injury. Giants fans probably would not have to say goodbye to pitchers Kyle Crick and Tyler Beede; however, GM Bobby Evans would most likely have to trade one of these top-five prospects or catcher Andrew Susac in order to seal the deal on Utley.
What will happen when Joe Panik comes off the DL in a few weeks? Well, Panik would obviously take back control of second base, but Utley could move to first base, moving Brandon Belt over to left field where he has already started 10 games in 2015. That would leave Nori Aoki to take over the center field duties.
In summary…the perks:
3. He will have an opportunity to bridge that divide between San Francisco and its playoff hopes.
What about the downfalls?
1. No matter how much money that the Phillies will pay to get rid of him, Utley is a very expensive “past-his-prime” player who is not in the Giants long-term plans.
2. A desperate move from the front-office may affect the team’s future. Giving up at least one top-10 prospects for a part-time player is a gamble.
3. Utley has been injury-prone, especially of late. In fact, Utley has been placed on the disabled list at least once in five of the past six years.
4. There’s always a possibility that Utley may not fit in well with the team chemistry. Utley has shown to be a hothead at times—he and Jonathan Sanchez had a confrontation that led to the benches clearing back in the 2010 NLCS.
Whatever GM Bobby Evans and VP Brian Sabean decide to do, they must prioritize. Is it worth jeopardizing the future in exchange for a slightly better chance of making the playoffs this year?